Marshall Refused to Laugh at FDR’s Jokes

Love that afternoon TV in the basement. Where else but on the History Channel’s “Five Star Heroes” would I be able to learn about the life and times of General George Marshall.

Marshall went to Virginia Military Institute, his brother thought he’d flunk out. He couldn’t get into West Point. He said that seeing the troops being celebrated coming home from the Spanish American War in his hometown made him want to become a military man.

Later in his career, he was sent to France as a supply officer. During an inspection of the troops by General Pershing, the big man began berating Marshall’s senior officer. He grabbed the General by the arm and began lecturing him…turning the blame around and saying that it wasn’t his commander’s fault, it was the lack of supplies and training. His gambit was successful–Pershing later called him and offered him a job on his senior staff. When his first wife died at 26, he collapsed and couldn’t do anything for two weeks. A few years later he married another beautiful woman, and Pershing was his best man.

He rose in the ranks during World War II. He refused to laugh at FDR’s jokes, and never liked the man. Yet he was promoted again to chief of staff handling the war effort. He became one of only eight men who ever had five stars as a general or admiral. No one gets five stars nowadays.